I ran for the UCB Divisional Council in 2022 and won election for the 22-23, and 23-24 years. Known as DIVCO, the body could be thought of as the executive arm of Berkeley’s academic senate. I ran because of concerns about campus priorities and the strategic challenges we face. Berkeley is facing macro constraints including costs of housing and living in the Bay Area that are steadily eroding our competitive posture, and at the same time we lack features that help institutions perform (biggest example: no medical school).
We should be thinking big, with eyes on a 2030–2040 horizon. Some of the ideas I think are worth pursuing include: creating faculty housing like that offered at NYU and Colombia, creating student housing close to campus—even using eminent domain to reform the sleepy properties that surround the campus, rethinking how much of our central campus is devoted to sports infrastructure, building a medical school, and developing campus institutions that can more competitively interact with D/I/H-ARPA.
We should fundamentally rethink how we can use campus resources to compete for and retain faculty. Other schools use campus resources to provide perks for faculty that we simply don’t consider. For instance, we have a fantastic eye clinic at Berkeley—why won’t we offer corrective vision surgery as a retention strategy, or as a privilege connected with earning tenure, or even as a recruitment tool for the best graduate students?
I also ran because in my opinion, Berkeley gets in its own way too often. We literally decide not to do “the right thing” or the strategic thing because of transaction costs we have imposed upon ourselves. We are becoming more process-based and managerial. Just as employees adopt “shadow-IT” to circumvent bad technology decisions, some faculty employ shadow-operations to get their work done.
Senior faculty members spend much of their time now on process and paperwork. We need to formally declare a time-value to faculty member time, and eliminate rules, trainings, and paperwork that 1) excessively impose upon faculty time or 2) are not risk-justified. From reimbursements to CPHS to IACUC to even the merit review process, we have no evaluative method that acts as a ceiling on paperwork and faculty time and we don’t probe the upside/downside risks from process requirements.
My governance experience at Cal includes campus-level (CPHS, leading the Center for Long Term Cybersecurity, developing a professional masters in cybersecurity, Senate academic freedom committee) and school-level service (HGA of our cyber program, building space, admissions). I am a former member of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and helped it develop policy on protection of electronic communications. I am also a practicing attorney and advisor to companies operating high-risk, high-consequence activities. I have raised money from NSF, from many companies, and I led a grant-making foundation.
My governance philosophy is guided by several high-level principles and concerns: our institution’s competitive posture; a structural perspective on campus challenges (I believe it is important to avoid using policies that impose costs on individuals when the problem being addressed is systemic in nature); the need to protect faculty time and attention from growing compliance, training, and other administrative obligations; and my sense that as an institution, we are becoming too risk adverse.
As a dual appointee in two professional schools (Law & Information), I have worked with many colleagues in the humanities and sciences. One of my goals has been to increase lateral faculty information sharing, and to that end I have helped moderate the Faculty Budget Forum. As a member of DIVCO, I would endeavor to help others understand and contribute to the complex governance landscape of our wonderful campus.